The leading cot death charity says some popular products which can be bought on the high street do not conform to safer sleep guidelines
The three most important things to remember when choosing a mattress are firm, flat and waterproof
In line with Safer Sleep Week from 11-18 March, The Lullaby Trust is drawing parents’ attention to a product guide it has produced advising them of the safest way for their baby to sleep.
It cautions that an overwhelming array of self-proclaimed baby sleep aid products are confusing and these items could in fact pose a risk of SIDS.
A survey commissioned by the charity earlier this year shows that over a third of new or expectant parents have bought or intend to buy baby sleep nest and pods.
However they advise that these items, as well as baby hammocks, cot bumpers, pillows, duvets or anything that wedges or straps a baby in place, can be potentially harmful to babies under 12 months old.
Instead, the product guide reaffirms that the safest place for babies to sleep is on a firm, flat, waterproof surface, where their head does not sink in more than a few millimetres. This will help prevent a baby’s airway from becoming obstructed if they roll.
The guide explains that although some of these other products, many sold in high street stores, can claim to help babies sleep longer, or more deeply, they are potentially risky. Exhausted parents are tempted to buy these products in the hope their baby will sleep better, without being aware of any danger to their baby.
But in fact it is normal for babies under a year old, and often older, to wake up during the night, especially if they are breastfed.
‘Encouraging babies to sleep for longer and more deeply than is normal for their stage of development may affect their ability to wake up if something is wrong, such as if their mouth and nose become covered,’ the guide says.
‘This inability to wake easily from sleep is thought to be linked to SIDS.’
It strongly advises parents to buy a product which complies with British Safety standards, particularly when buying over the internet. This will tell you that it has passed certain tests, such as making sure it doesn’t fall apart or set on fire easily, but it still does not mean that it will be safe when it comes to reducing the risk of SIDS.